Neal Oates,  the assistant headmaster, Dubai British School asked all the parents, “Would you leave your child alone with a thousand strangers in a room?” Without any doubt, you must be answering “No”. So the point is why do you leave your children to engage with millions of strangers online? Oates is campaigner advising parents not to allow children below 13 years of age to use mobile phones.

Oates told the reporters on the sidelines of a conference marking 30 years of the internet called for greater accountability of tech platforms in maintaining privacy and controlling fake news.

“We have got a responsibility as a society to stop the proliferation of invalidated information and students are among those who get most affected by fake news because they are not in a position to judge what is right and what is wrong. That is why I believe children below the age of 13 shouldn’t be given mobile phones,” says Oates.

Tamara Clarke, the author of children’s book advising to maintain a balance between online and offline activities for children, said that “Screen time is always the issue, finding the right balance between online and offline activities of children is the key to their balanced growth. Parents have to be very serious about the dangers that might come with having access to the internet. So before they deal with it, clear guidelines should be established and children should know what the rules of engagement are.”

“I believe privacy is not an issue with children. The devices should be kept in the common area of the house and parents should be aware of what the children are up to,” she added.


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